16 of the best real ale pubs in Devon
PUBLISHED: 11:56 15 May 2017 | UPDATED: 17:22 08 September 2017
From pale ale and real cider to craft beer, Devon is home to a number of real ale breweries and CAMRA award-winners, meaning a good pub is never far away – we pick 16 places to go in Devon to find the best pint
Aiming to ‘bring back traditional values for locals and visitors alike’ the Queens Arms in Brixham was awarded the 2014 South Devon Pub of the Year by CAMRA. Boasting seven hand pumps with six ales and one traditional cider that change frequently.
A traditional 16th Century pub in Spreyton, the Tom Cobley Tavern serve up to 14 real ales are served at any one time from 8 hand pumps at the bar, and the remaining straight from the cask in their cellar. Six-time winner of Exeter and East Devon CAMRA Pub of the Year, you will also find 14 real ciders including some perries stocked at any one time.
This traditional Devonshire Inn is nestled in the heart of the rolling countryside on the edge of the Exe Valley. Featured in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide for 28 consecutive years The Butterleigh Inn are also accredited under the CAMRA Locale scheme, for pubs that stock beers from local brewers. Regular ales are the Cotleigh Tawny Bitter, Yellowhammer and Otter beers in addition to a fourth guest beer, sometimes local, sometimes from further afield for interest.
Ship and Pilot, Ilfracombe
Promising ‘excellent beer and great company’, the Ship and Pilot offer a selection of six real ales and six ciders to choose from. Decorated with local photos spanning many years, the focus of The Ship and Pilot really is on the beer – food is not something you can order at this pub. The pub was crowned North Devon CAMRA’s Pub of the Year 2013.
Listed on CAMRA’s inventory of historic pub interiors, The Drewe Arms Inn evolved from a series of cottages. Featuring a cosy bar with fixed seating, benches and tables and a toasty open log fire – plus traditional pub games such as bar billiards and shove ‘alfpenny. Drinks are served the old-fashioned way from three serving hatches.
Named North Devon CAMRA Pub of the Year 2014, 2015 and 2017, The Red Lion is a traditional 16th Century real ale pub set in the countryside of Mid Devon near Dartmoor. Real ale is served direct from the barrel, with Fox from Exmoor Ales, Brewers Blend from Hanlons Brewery and Sharp’s Original as the regular ales, in addition to guest ales, Winkleigh Cider supply the locally produced cider, made at their factory just six miles away.
Plymouth CAMRA Country Pub of the Year 2013 and Pub of the Year 2012. Offering five rotating real ales, including ales from local including Summerskills Brewery, and South Hams Brewery in addition to a Guest Cider or Perry.
A 16th-century village free house in the village of Mortehoe with views of Lundy Island and the expansive beaches of Woolacombe Bay nearby. Once the old vicarage, it still has gas lighting in the bar. Normally there are four real ales available with the occasional one or two guests. Busy during holiday times, quality food is served all week except Mondays in winter. Separate skittle alley and children’s room for families.
Topsham is home to the Bridge Inn, an award-winning pub with scenic views overlooking the River Clyst. The 16th century inn is no better described than charming and timeless with local stone brickwork and an olde worlde décor. Specialising in real ale, escape the cold with friends next to the roaring fire with a pint of beer in hand or soak in the sun from the beer garden.
The Old Market Inn hotel and restaurant in Holsworthy is the three-time winner of North Devon CAMRA’s Pub of the Year in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Offering two regular beers and four guest beers, they also serve regular house beer BOMB (that’s Best Old Market Bitter), a popular beer brewed exclusively for the Old Market Inn. If the sun is shining, check out the secluded beer garden, which is open all year round.
The Court Farm Inn is a 17th century pub situated in the historic, quaint village of Abbotskerswell. Out the front you can take a seat the beer garden or step inside the charming pub and admire a beautiful interior of stone walls, open fires and beamed ceilings.
Court Farm prides itself on providing patrons with real ale brewed locally; we recommend that you try the Jail Ale or Otter & Bass.
Perched on the pretty River Dart is the Ferry Boat Inn, a pub with a great selection of real ales including local favourites Otter Amber and Sharp’s Doom Bar. We recommending tucking into the game casserole with mash and red cabbage alongside your pint, by the roaring fireplace, and while away the evening as you gaze at the mesmerising River Dart.
Located in the beautiful village of Iddesleigh is The Duke of York Inn, a CAMRA listed 15th century pub overlooking the rolling hills of Dartmoor. Escape the cold at this country gem and cosy up next to the fireplace or venture out back to the beer garden where you can enjoy the warmer weather with a pint of real ale straight from the barrel.
From its Mid-Devon location the Pony and Trap offer up to 7 Real Ales, ciders and perries with a focus on local breweries. Originally built to the north side of a Quakers Meeting House, it is believed that the Quakers Burial ground is in the garden at the rear of the pub. Yet from as early as 1760 there was public house on the site that is now The Pony and Trap – winner of the Exeter & East Devon CAMRA Pub of the Year 2014.
After a walk in the countryside with your four-legged friend, pop by the family run Bell Inn, Chittlehampton. This North Devon gem is home to a great selection of real ales; why not try the Exmoor Bitter whilst enjoying views of the rolling hills from the garden and letting the children enjoy the outdoor playground?
Situated in the village of Lee Bay is The Grampus Inn, a pub which originally started life as a working farm until the 1970s when it became a freehouse. Bring along your pooch and enjoy a pint of Kraken ale while sat by the log burner or soak in the sun from their picturesque garden.